Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Kristin M. Lindahl

Second Committee Member

Neena M. Malik

Third Committee Member

Debbiesiu L. Lee

Fourth Committee Member

Annette M. La Greca

Fifth Committee Member

Steven A. Safren


Upward of 70% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth experience some degree of negative parental reaction to their sexual orientation, which is problematic in light of data documenting an association between parental rejection and internalizing problems in these youth. While emerging studies have begun to study mediating factors, this research is limited and has significant gaps. To the author’s knowledge, the current study is the first to examine longitudinal data in this area as well as to investigate general psychological processes (i.e., factors common to all youth and known to be linked to youth mental health outcomes) that may link parental rejection with youth internalizing problems. Specifically, the current study examined indirect effects of parental rejection on internalizing problems through family social support and youth self-esteem. Demographic factors (i.e., youth gender and race/ethnicity) potentially related to these general psychological processes also were examined. Participants included a multiethnic sample of 148 LGB youth (ages 14–26) and 87 of their parents (ages 32–71). Findings indicated that while parental rejection was related to family social support and self-esteem was related to internalizing problems, neither family social support nor self-esteem significantly mediated the association between parental rejection and internalizing problems. Furthermore, no significant differences were found in family social support or self-esteem across youth gender or race/ethnicity. These results have implications for future research as well as clinical work with this population.


LGB youth; internalizing problems; general psychological processes; sexual minority; homosexual